Our writer attended a local free screening of About Time, and we are being compensated for this campaign. Her opinions are her own.
I think it’s great that we all feel free to share our #MomFail moments. Once we revisit the moment, whether it’s on Facebook, face to face with a friend, in an email or on a blog, it usually doesn’t feel so bad, especially if someone joins in with encouragement that they’ve done the same thing — or even worse! But as easy as some of that comes, I do think that there are deeper, hidden things that we don’t share.
- I might share about the fact that I forgot to pick up my teen daughter after her club meeting at school, but do I share about the fact that when I’m focused on the computer, a book, or the television that I sometimes just forget her?
- I might tell that I missed the orthodontist appointment that I had confirmed twice, but would I tell that I haven’t made an OB/GYN appointment in over two years?
- I might be honest about struggles with getting my kids to do their homework, but would I be as honest about the awful, horrible, tone of voice that comes out during the “conversation” about it?
It’s the talking — or the not talking — that plagues me with the woulda coulda shoulda’s. Whether it’s with a spouse or a child or a friend or a parent, there are conversations that are so difficult that we either avoid them altogether or botch them when we try.
When Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21, his father (Bill Nighy) sits him down for a very important conversation. He tells him that the men in his family have always been able to travel in time. Tim doesn’t believe him, but he gives it a try, using the method his dad describes. He thinks back to the night before, when he missed the opportunity to kiss a girl at a New Year’s Eve party at the stroke of midnight. He goes back and makes it right.
In that scene, you can just feel his frustrations from the first time. She looks at him. He looks at her. Others all around the room are bringing in the new year with the traditional kiss, but Tim gives an awkward handshake. The disappointment on her face is palpable. And Tim is the kind of guy who is not only plagued with the missed opportunity to smooch, but I think he’s just as worried about her feelings.
Those are the moments that I wish I could do over, the ones where a careless word or action left someone doubting themselves. For example, last month I greeted a friend at Bible study and commented on her shirt, “You’re fancy today.” She got a thoughtful look on her face and said something like “I guess this is different than my plain solids and tailored clothes.” And then the next couple of times I saw her, she said something like “Back to my boring plain shirts.” It’s not a big deal. I didn’t crush her, and she certainly knew that I wasn’t being mean-spirited, but I wish I could zip back to that morning and just say “You look nice today,” not making any sort of comparison to what she usually looked like.
These offhand comments happen more than I like to remember, and they echo in my head. We can’t take back words, but I sure wish I could. And I can’t get a do-over to say omething like “I’m so sorry for what you’ve been going through,” when instead the awkwardness and lack of anything I think will help left me totally mute.
About Time is the new movie from filmmaker Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral), using his signature voice in the world of movies and television, giving audiences unforgettable characters who have alternately allowed us to laugh at our ever-so-human foibles and to share a tear at the extraordinary journeys that accompany our ordinary lives.
Enter our great $100 About Time giveaway, but in the meantime, join in the conversation by leaving a comment (you can count it as an entry over at the giveaway post): What words or actions do you wish you could take back, or do differently?